February 2008

AAA Carolinas Releases Its List of Most Dangerous Places to Drive in North Carolina

February 28, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

A report released by AAA Carolina ranks the most dangerous places to drive in North Carolina. Haywood County was named the place where there is the “Best chance of being in a collision” under the category “Top 5 Dangerous Counties for Tractor-Trailers.”

Haywood’s Interstate 40, which is winding and narrowly built, is one of the reasons for the high motor vehicle crash rate. The I-40 once was once known for having the highest rate of tractor-trailer crashes in the United States.

The large amount of traffic—in particular, tractor-trailers—that pass through the area is another reason that so many accidents occur. The cold weather can cause the roads and tunnels to become icy.

Swain County and Graham County ranked at the top of the “5 Dangerous Counties for Motorcycles” under the categories “Best Chance for Being Injured” and Best Chance of Being in a Collision.”

Graham County was also named the leading North Carolina County where one has the “Best Chance of Being Killed.” A major reason for this high ranking is the 318 curves on its 11-mile stretch of U.S. 129. The fact that the number of people buying and riding motorcycles is increasing is also playing a role.

Also ranking on the AAA Carolinas list is Gaston County, which ranked number 27 out of the 30 most dangerous counties in North Carolinas for auto crashes. On a positive note, it ranked 91 out of 100 counties where deadly accidents will most likely take place.

Mecklenburg County ranked number six under the most dangerous counties list. Also listed among the counties where motor vehicle collisions were most likely to occur were Lincoln County at number 25 and Cleveland County at number 33.

The number one county where auto wrecks were most likely to happen, for the fifth year in a row, is New Hanover County.

The North Carolina county where you are least likely to get into a motor vehicle wreck is Currituck County. Chowan County is the area where you are least likely to die in a car crash.

If you were injured in a motor vehicle crash or someone you love was killed in an auto collision that was caused by another negligent party in North Carolina or South Carolina, our motor vehicle accident law firm would like to offer you a free consultation to discuss your personal injury or wrongful death case.

Gaston County ranks in top half for wrecks, but few end in fatalities, GastonGazette.com, February 5, 2008

Mountain roads cited as among the state’s most dangerous, Smoky Mountain News, February 6, 2008

Related Web Resource:

AAA Carolinas

Duke Lacrosse Players File Lawsuit Against Duke University and the City of Durham, North Carolina

February 21, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

Over three dozen current and ex-Duke Lacrosse players are suing Duke University, the North Carolina city of Durham, and a number of police and school officers. The federal lawsuit alleges abuse, fraud, and breach of duty during the high profile case, now dismissed rape case against three team members.

The three lacrosse players who were charged, Reade Seligmann, Dave Evans, and Collin Finnerty, are not plaintiffs in this civil case. They have filed their own cases against Durham and police investigators. The three of them reached a settlement with Duke University last year.

The plaintiffs in this latest lawsuit related to the rape case are 38 unindicted players and nine of their family members. They are suing for damages for emotional trauma, invasion of privacy, and other injuries.

In 2006, Seligmann, Evans, and Finnerty were indicted by then-Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong after a woman accused the three of them of raping her at a Lacrosse team party that March. State prosecutors dropped all charges against the three men in April 2007.

Apparently, Nifong and his investigative team had made up and suppressed evidence. The victim continued to change her account of the alleged attack. The federal lawsuit claims that the University and the city abandoned the lacrosse team in favor of protecting the images of the school and the city. The plaintiffs are accusing Duke of disregarding and discrediting evidence that showed the players did not rape the alleged rape victim.

As a result, the players say that they were harassed, abused, and disciplined as if they were already guilty of rape. The University cancelled the lacrosse team’s season.

The players want to hold the city of Durham responsible for Nifong’s actions. The former DA, who has declared bankruptcy and is a defendant in two other lawsuits related to his handling of the rape case was not named in this lawsuit. He was disbarred and spent a night in jail for his actions.

If you have suffered any injuries or losses because of the misconduct or negligence of any person or entity in North Carolina or South Carolina, you may be able to receive personal injury compensation for the harm that you have suffered.

Players allege Duke failed to protect their reputation, CNN.com, February 21, 2008

Duke lacrosse players seek damages in federal lawsuit, USA Today.com, February 21, 2008

Related Web Resources:

McFayden et al v Duke University et al, Justia.com

Duke Rape Case Unravels, CSMonitor.com, December 26, 2006

Supreme Court Places New Limits on Products Liability Lawsuits Filed Against Medical Device Manufacturers

February 20, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

Now, more than ever, it is important to speak with an experienced defective medical device attorney to discuss your case. In an 8-1 vote today, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to place new limits on defective medical device lawsuits filed against Medtronic Inc. and other medical device manufacturers: Patients cannot sue a medical manufacturer if the product that caused the injury was cleared by a strict federal review process.

In this latest case, the Supreme Court barred a lawsuit filed by the widow of a man who was permanently injured when his Medtronic heart catheter burst while he underwent angioplasty surgery. The Medtronic product had been gone through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s pre-market approval process. When the device burst, the patient developed a complete blockage and had to undergo emergency bypass surgery. He died three years ago.

The Bush administration and medical device manufacturers had both argued in favor of precluding state law claims with the more rigorous pre-market review process.

This new ruling could work in favor of medical devices makers that have been named as defendants in the thousands of defective products lawsuits that are still pending. It could also work in favor of drug manufacturers. Drug makers are also trying to get the U.S. Supreme Court to place limits on lawsuits filed by people injured from taking a dangerous or defective drug.

Lawsuits that will be most impacted by the ruling are cases involving medical devices that have undergone the FDA’s yearlong pre-market approval process. This is an arduous process, which is why only 43 new applications were filed in 2005. A fast-track review is available to new devices that are similar to products that are already being sold in the marketplace.

The Supreme Court’s ruling does leave room for defective medical device lawsuits filed under state rules that are considered parallel to federal requirements.

Our North Carolina and South Carolina defective products law firm has helped many injured patients and their families recover compensation from medical device makers and drug manufacturers. We have the experience and resources to help you explore your options and take the necessary and available steps to pursue your case.

Patient Medical-Device Suits Curbed by Top U.S. Court, Bloomberg.com, February 20, 2008

Justices Make It Tougher to Sue Medical Device Makers, The New York Times, February 20, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Read the Supreme Court Decision, Justia & Oyez

Medtronic, Inc.

North Carolina Says Care Facility’s Failure To Properly Supervise 10-Year-Old Autistic Boy Led To Drowning Death

February 14, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina Officials say that the RHA Howell Center-Clear Creek failed to properly supervise 10-year-old Brandon Parrish Johnson, an autistic boy that they had been warned would run off if he was not closely watched by staffers.

On January 27, Brandon did just that and drowned. According to the state report, Brandon, a resident at the facility, was being moved 100 feet from the main building to the chapel, which has an exit door that leads to the parking lot.

Upon entering the chapel with a staffer, Brandon was instructed to remove his coat. The staffer that took Brandon to the chapel handed supervision of the boy over to another staffer.

A supervisor then told the staffers in the chapel to take their charges to the classrooms. About 20 minutes after giving this direction, the supervisor realized that Brandon was not in the classroom. The staffer also did not know where Brandon had gone.

Staffers searched the premise and surveillance tapes. One video tape recorded Brandon leaving the chapel exit and running through the parking lot to chase a small animal. He was found unconscious in a small pond. Care facility members were unable to revive the boy.

The state’s report says that RHA Howell Center-Clear Creek did not have procedures to allow staffers to properly supervise all residents as they were being moved around to the center’s different areas. The report called this failure “institutional negligence.” The report also noted that staffers had been aware that Brandon was considered a runner and required ongoing, close supervision—especially when he is being transported from one area to another.

Since the accident, the care center now reportedly keeps runners away from exit doors. North Carolina fined RHA Howell Center-Clear Creek $12,000 because it had placed the safety of residents in “immediate and serious jeopardy.” The center is in Cabarrus County and is located on the Cabarrus-Mecklenburg line.

Nursing homes and residential care facilities are supposed to provide patients with the proper and necessary care and supervision that their conditions require. When abuse or neglect occurs, and a patient is injured or dies, a care facility can be held legally liable.

Children staying at care facilities—especially those with special needs—can be especially susceptible to injuries or death if left unattended by staff members.

Our North Carolina and South Carolina personal injury law firm has successfully handled many residential care abuse and neglect cases for victims of all ages. We also represent families in cases where the neglect and abuse incidents involved injuries or the wrongful death of a minor.

Center knew boy was ‘runner‘, Charlotte.com, February 13, 2008

Related Web Resources:

State begins probe at disability facility, Charlotte.com, January 29, 2008

What is Autism, Autism Research Institute

North Carolina Convicted Murderer Mike Peterson Now Owes $35 Million for Wrongful Death of His Wife

February 11, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

Michael Peterson, the Durham North Carolina man convicted of the 2001 first-degree murder of his wife, Kathleen Peterson, agreed a year ago to settle the wrongful death lawsuit filed against him by Kathleen’s daughter, Caitlin Atwater. Atwater claims that Peterson maliciously assaulted Kathleen.

The judgment, for over $35 million, was only approved on January 31 by Judge Orlando Hudson in Durham County Court. The initial settlement agreement of $25 million has now grown because of interest.

It is not likely, however, that Atwater will ever see any money from the settlement because Peterson says he has no money. He filed for bankruptcy from prison, where he is serving a life sentence for his wife’s murder.

In December 2001, Kathleen Peterson, 48, was found dead at the bottom of the staircase of their home. Peterson continues to maintain his innocence, claiming that she died from an accidental fall.

In 2003, a jury convicted him of first-degree murder following a two-month trial. Peterson has been unsuccessful in getting the courts to reverse the decision. North Carolina’s Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s decision.

As part of the terms of the wrongful death agreement, Atwater said she would stay the case until all of Peterson’s criminal appeals were exhausted. She can reinstate the lawsuit if he is exonerated. Even though Peterson has declared bankruptcy, Atwater wanted to make sure that Peterson would never profit from telling the story of her mother’s murder.

Mike Peterson is a writer and a novelist. He is the author of the books The Immortal Dragon, A Bitter Peace, and A Time of War.

If someone you love died as the victim of a crime, there is a possibility that the person responsible for your loved one’s death can be held liable in a criminal court and by a civil court. You may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person responsible for your loved one’s death and receive some recovery for your pain, suffering, and associated losses.

One of our North Carolina or South Carolina wrongful death attorneys would be happy to help you determine whether you have grounds for a wrongful death case.

Peterson agrees to settle lawsuit, NewsObserver.com, February 1, 2008

Judge Awards $35M in Peterson Wrongful Death Suit, WRAL.com, January 31, 2008

Related Web Resource:

Wrongful Death Overview, Justia

Cause of North Carolina Plane Crash That Killed Six People is Still Under Investigation

February 4, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The National Transportation Safety Board says that they have ruled out several possible causes of the fatal plane crash in North Carolina last Friday that killed all six people on the plane.

The Beechcraft King Air C90A twin-engine turboprop’s cockpit voice recorder has been recovered, and it will be sent to Washington D.C. for examination. NTSB investigator Todd Gunther says that federal investigators have ruled out engine failure, fire, structural defects, or pilot illness as causes of the crash.

Six men died in the crash: Steve Simpson, 46, Frank Ruggiero, 52, John Wesley Rakestraw, 50, Tony Gunter, 46, Hal Echols, 57, and Robert Butler, 49. The men were going to hunting and golf resort Primland in Virginia. All six men were from Paulding, Georgia and were prominent business and civic leaders in their community. It is not certain who was driving the plane at the time of the crash.

New radar data reveals that the plane overshot the runway when it approached Mount Airy airport for a landing before veering left and crashing in a residential area. No one on the ground was injured.

If you are a plane crash survivor or have lost a family member in an aviation accident that you believe was caused by the negligence of the pilot, the airline, aircraft or air traffic controller personnel, the manufacturer of a plane or plane part, or anyone else, you should contact our personal injury law firm right away.

Plane crash cases require the legal counsel of a law firm that understands the nature of plane collisions and is familiar with aviation law and the different regulations that govern the airline industry and its personnel.

Common causes of plane crashes include:

• Defective equipment
• Pilot error
• Design flaws
• Structural problems
• Federal Air Traffic Controllers negligence
• Flight Service Station employee negligence

Because of the nature of aviation accidents, deaths and catastrophic injuries can result during a crash involving a private plane, a helicopter, a small jet, a commercial airliner, or a pleasure craft. There may be more than one party who is liable for your plane crash.

Our North Carolina and South Carolina personal injury and wrongful death lawyers have represented over 30,000 clients. 90% of our cases are settled out of court. We also have an aggressive litigation team that can represent your lawsuit in court.

Investigators Say CVR May Shed Light Into NC King Air Downing, Aero-News.Net, February 4, 2008

Wreckage of crashed plane to be brought to Atlanta, AJC.com, February 3, 2008

Related Web Resources:

National Transportation Safety Board

Federal Aviation Administration

North Carolina Nurses at Goldsboro Mental Hospital Hugged and Danced While Patient Sat in Chair for Over 22 Hours Before Dying, Says Report

February 1, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

An investigative report found that the nurses at Cherry Hospital, a mental hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina, failed to feed or help patient Steven H. Sabock, 50, while he sat in a chair for over 22 hours last April. He died the next day of a heart ailment.

Security footage of the hospital shows a nurse standing nearby and not doing anything to help Sabock, while he choked on his medicine. The footage also shows health care technicians playing cards, watching TV, and talking on the cell phone in the same room where Sabock was sitting. He reportedly sat in a chair located in the day room through four work shifts.

Throughout that time, no one gave Sabock food or helped him to the bathroom. Instructions by a doctor to give him fluids every two hours and monitor his vitals every six hours also appear to have been ignored.

Eventually, technicians stood Sabock up, pushed a chair under him, and took him to his bedroom. The footage shows emergency equipment being carted down the hall five minutes later.

Investigators say that Sabock did not eat anything on the day that he died and even though he was eating very little on the three days leading up to his death, a nutritional consult or physician exam did not take place.

Sabock’s father, Nicholas, says that during an attempted visit to see his son at Cherry Hospital, staffers turned him away. Sabock’s wife also says that the state of North Carolina sent her a letter reporting “major negligence” in the care the hospital provided to him.

Medical Malpractice
Patients are admitted to mental hospitals because they require specialized attention and care. When failure to provide that care results in injury or death, the hospital, doctors, nurses, or other staffers can be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death.

Our North Carolina medical malpractice lawyers represent clients whose loved ones were injured or killed because of the negligent actions of a doctor, a nurse, a hospital, or another medical provider.

In North Carolina, you have three years from the date of when the medical malpractice action caused injury or death, or one year from when the injury was (or should have been) found out to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Patient dies after waiting 22 hours at hospital, Chicago Sun-Times, August 20, 2008

Nurses ignored patient as he died, CharlotteObserver.com, August 20, 2008

Related Web Resource:

Cherry Hospital, Goldsboro

Types of Medical Malpractice, WrongDiagnosis.com


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